I wrote this article a few years back, but it bears repeating. (This year I will not be taking a class through NaNoWriMo.)
I’m here to share how I prepare my students for NaNoWriMo. You will find your own ways for future years, tweaking your approach depending on your schedule and the students’ personalities.
This year I have quite a few students, so I am going to try to approach them in smaller groups. In the beginning, there are many, many questions. I want to help them all, so smaller groups of 5-8 would be better than the whole group of 30+, especially considering a wide age range.
Small Bits of Time
That means I will come during different times of the day: recess, lunch, study halls, library time, etc. I will meet with them for about 15 minutes max for prep work. I don’t want this to be overwhelming or feel like schoolwork.
12 Things I Need To Do
I plan to accomplish these things before October 31:
- I have already talked to the teachers. I make sure they know what NaNoWriMo is, how they can support it in class, and what I expect from them (to let me come in once in a while, but that’s about it.)
- Talk to the kids about the purpose and the fun of NaNoWriMo.
- Get students to sign up as “I’m interested, but not committing just yet.”
- Have other students share their experiences.
- Send a note home to the interested students’ parents, explaining what we’re doing and what they can expect.
- Print out workbooks from ywp.nanowrimo.org for each student who brings in a commitment form signed by the parents and a 3-ring binder.
- Find 3-ring binders for those few students who don’t quite have it together, but really want to do this.
- Meet with students about their internal editor (using the workbook.)
- Talk about character sketches (using the workbook.)
- Talk about plot (using the workbook.)
- Have a brainstorming/sharing meeting for those who have ideas and those who don’t.
- Get them to commit on October 31 and make sure they’re ready to start on their own, at home, on November 1.
Whew! That is a lot of stuff to do! I had better get going! If you’ve done NaNoWriMo with your class, what else would you add to that list? Email me and let me know!